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Title: Claim from garage that damaged my bike

Date: 09 May 2012

Question

After taking my bike in for a MOT I was told it failed on a worn tyre. I asked them to fit a new tyre which they agreed to. In the process my bike fell of their stand while they were doing this causing a lot of damage to my bike. They have agreed to repair this but this occurred on the 4/4/12 since then they have come up with a number of reasons why this is taking so long. As there is still no sign of my bike being repaired I was wondering if I could sue these for damages and get my bike repaired somewhere else if possible. Could you please advise me what I should do? I do have fully comprehensive insurance.

Graham Fox, e-mail to BikeLawyer

Answer

You are correct to have asked the garage which damaged the bike to repair it as they have an obligation to do so. If, after giving the garage a reasonable time in which to make good the damage they do not, then you are entitled to have the bike repaired elsewhere and recover the cost from the garage. You should threaten this in writing before you actually do so as this may well spur the garage into action.

How you proceed if you have the bike repaired independently will largely depend on the cost of the repairs. In the unlikely event that they cost more than £5,000 then you should be able to get a solicitor to act for you on a no-win, no-fee basis and who will recover the legal costs from the garage.

If the repairs cost less than £5,000 then you cannot recover legal costs from a Defendant. This would mean that you would have to pay any solicitor privately and could leave you with legal fees of thousands of pounds. That said, if you have legal expense cover attached to your insurance, you should ask your insurance company to appoint a solicitor to act on your behalf.

If you do not have legal expense insurance you can bring a claim in the Small Claims Court where you represent yourself (see www.moneyclaim.gov.uk) any award for the other side’s costs should you lose in court would be limited to £80.

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